The annual Viennese Ball is back after two years

UW-Eau Claire’s event is the largest Viennese Ball outside of Vienna

Kyra Price

More stories from Kyra Price

Across the Pond
May 9, 2024


The Viennese Ball will fill all three floors of Davies Student Center with a variety of events, performances and food and drink options

The Viennese Ball has been a tradition at UW-Eau Claire for years, and this year, the 47th Ball will take place. The Viennese Ball is back this year after a two year break due to COVID-19.

The Viennese Ball is an event inspired by the historic Kaiser Ball that takes place in Vienna at the former Imperial Palace and seat of the Austrian emperors, the Hofburg Congress Center, according to the UW-Eau Claire website.

Kaitlyn Konrardy, a fourth-year music and liberal arts student, is attending the Viennese Ball for the second time this year. This year, her woodwind trio, Benevolencia, is performing. Konrardy is a vocalist within Benevolencia, which also includes piano and clarinet.

Her first time attending the ball was a last minute decision, but she said she is glad she did attend. Her first time attending was as a first-year, but this year, she is coming back to perform.

Additionally, Konrardy is this year’s recipient of the Ada Bors Music Service Award, for “outstanding student service to the music and theatre arts department.”  The award is named for Ada Bors, the founder of the Viennese Ball.  

The Viennese Ball requires planning throughout the entire academic year in order to put out a successful event according to Kristin Schumacher, the director of University Centers. The committee has been meeting monthly since September and weekly since January.

The committee for the Viennese Ball consists of 23 people from the University Centers, Music & Theatre Arts, Integrated Marketing, Center for International Education and Blugold Dining. 

There are six subcommittees that continue to work in between meetings in order to accomplish all that needs to be done to produce the ball.

A wide array of people attend the ball, from students, to community members and alumni. Konrardy said that she thinks the draw for the Viennese Ball is its elegance. 

She said that the committee creates the atmosphere of a ball in Davies, and that everyone comes dressed to the nines. 

The ball also provides an authentic meal of Austrian specialties, which this year includes Vienna Schnitzel and Austrian tafelspitz, as well as sole almondine dinner, open face prime rib sandwich, Austrian stuffed collard greens, falafel kebab, roasted root and Tempeh Philly and assorted samplers, according to the UW-Eau Claire website. There is also torte for dessert.

The music that will be played by Benevolencia is unique as Konrardy’s trio’s combination of vocals, piano, and clarinet is not used often, according to Konrardy.

“I’m really looking forward to performing this year,” she said.

In addition to Benevolencia, piano students, jazz combos, brass ensembles and acapella groups perform at the Viennese Ball, as well as faculty ensembles. 

Musical theater and theater students also provide entertainment, according to Music Department Head Gretchen Peters.

According to Artistic Director of Theatre Arthur Grothe, there are some changes and new elements to this ball versus other years. Some of the performances were moved to new locations, and the “American Bar Room” was redesigned.

Grothe said that the entire Music and Theatre Arts department will be participating in the ball this year, including roaming “1885 Eau Clairians.” The actors will interact with ball attendees in scripted and unscripted moments.

Konrardy said, “I would just encourage anyone who’s on the fence about going to go. There’s a little bit of something for everyone.”

The Viennese Ball will take place April 8 and 9, and tickets for Saturday are sold out. Get tickets here.

Price can be reached at [email protected].